It’s 2010 and there is a lot to look forward in the world of technology.  With CES kicking off tomorrow there is an overwhelming amount of new products, applications, services, and general news.

To help you focus on what is important Tech to Live By is highlighting 4 technologies to keep an eye on and what to expect in 2010.

4G – Heat Index: Luke Warm

4G wireless is supposed to bring us gigabit wireless internet…someday.  Realistically it’ll be much slower than that, but your wireless connection will be at least as fast if not faster then your current cable connections at home (definitely faster than DSL, probably not as fast as fiber).

WiMax and LTE are the leading technologies in the next generation of wireless broadband connectivity.  Clearwire and Sprint are leading the WiMAX charge.  Verizon is the major LTE player in the US.

WiMAX started rolling out test markets a couple years ago and have fully launched a handful of markets in the US.  LTE is barely getting started and Verizon is just getting underway with their test markets.

Look for both of these technologies to search for traction in 2010.  Sprint is expected to announce WiMAX capable devices at CES and Clearwire intends to rollout 70+ markets.  Verizon knows it’s behind and will be making a strong push into 2011 to get it’s infrastructure into place.

The Lowdown: One or both of these technologies are the future of wireless broadband in the US (CDMA and GMS co-exist, these 4G equivalents may as well).  2010 will probably not decide a winner, but there will be huge advancements in both this year.

3D – Heat Index: Hot like a good Jacuzzi

3D technology has existed since the 1800′s (back to stereoscopic photographs), but only recently has it made its way out of the blue and red glasses that gave us all headaches as kids.  New recording and projection technologies combined with special glasses have raised 3D to a new level.  Each week more movies are released to theaters in various types of 3D and viewers are flocking to see them.

There are different types of 3D each with it’s own pros and cons and it remains to be seen if one will win out over the others.  All 3D technology relies on technology designed to deliver slightly different images to each eye thus resulting in the brain interpreting this input as a single image with depth .  If you want more details check here.

There are multiple keys to the growth of 3D:

  • In the Theater – The technology isn’t ‘experimental’ anymore.  I mean, have you seen Avatar?  Movie makers are using 3D and there are 0ver 3,000 screens in the US. According to Wired Magazine Cameron was at the forefront of pushing 3D tech and waited to make his movie until all the pieces were in place.
  • In the Home – High refresh rate TVs and the recently announced Blu-ray 3D standard (including the PS3) give content creators and home viewers the opportunity to watch 3D in the home with minimal effort (think popping in a DVD + putting on sunglasses).  Expect 3D capable TVs from numerous manufacturers at priced lower than the original plasma screens.
  • In the Home – DirecTV and ESPN have both announced plans to broadcast in 3D.  In fact, both have announced the launch of dedicated 3D channels in 2010.

The Lowdown: With in-theater 3D leading the charge, in-home 3D is following fast.  In 2010 expect to see a boom in 3D movies and the beginning of consumer level adoption of 3D technology (and if you’re going to be one of the lucky bunch to have 3D in your house by this summer… CALL ME, I want to watch the World Cup in 3D!).  This will be the year the masses are introduced to 3D.

[Editors Note: I'm floored over how amazing IMAX 3D really is and you should definitely check it out.]


Geo Location – Heat Index: Hot Like a Nuclear Reactor on Overload

Geo-Location and Location Based Services have been available as commercial applications for decades.  The growth of PNDs in the last 5-10 years has been huge, but it is the adoption of GPS in cell phones and the improvements of cellular triangulation that will put geo-level consumer enabled applications over the top.

We all know everyone carries a cellphone now and it’s only natural that rather than a separate device, like a PND, we would look for our lifeline cellphone to fill that void.  The adoption of GPS combined with increased battery lifes, bigger screens, smaller processes and most importantly better mobile broadband (3G and someday 4G) are making geo-location based information readily shareable and accessible to the mass market.

We’re already seeing the growth of applications like Loopt and Latitude step into the market while others like Foursquare are gaining momentum rapidly.  Twitter has even gotten in on the game by announcing new geolocation features and the acquisition of Mixer Labs’ Geo API.

The Lowdown: The growth of advanced handsets (smartphones, etc) combined with the availablity of application interfaces from major players like Google and Twitter will result in a much better user experience and, in turn, significantly increased availability of user generated geo-location data.  Expect at least one friend in 2010 to try and get you to do a geo-location based scavenger hunt.

Google – Heat Index: Hotter than the center of the sun.

I know Google doesn’t count as a ‘technology’, but you name a technology arena and they probably have a piece of it.

On the wireless side, Google has put the fear of Goog in many of the major players.  In particular Google’s expansion into 2 different operating systems (Chrome and Android) and launch of numerous pieces of hardware (most notably the Nexus One and Droid) have put the Big G in a position to take control of it’s users experiences almost from end to end.  Taking full advantage of increased bandwidth and the growth of advanced handsets Google will deliver more data to the user in an integrated platform (almost all of Google’s apps play nice together) in an almost unprecedented way.

In the web world Google is still the dominant force.  Search and advertising have both expanded effectively to mobile devices and Google’s consumer apps (gmail, gtalk, gdocs, etc) are growing rapidly (thanks in no small part to the launch of the operating systems and hardware).

Sister site covers why in 2010 your navigation system might finally be brought to you by Google.

The Lowdown: If you use the internet (wireless or otherwise) in 2010 you wont be able to avoid Google.  No question about it Google is in a position (by owning hardware and software backed by DEEEEEP pockets) to not only challenge Apple, but also define a new generation of technology (like the iPod did).  Watch for Google’s apps like Navigation and the Google Apps Suite to take off while ads continue to pay the bills.